Whiskey From Home 2020: Sleeper Bourbons – The Best Bourbon on the Shelf Right Now

Hey Folks!

Sorry for the previous email that went out before the post was ready. All good now.

t8ke here, to interrupt the normal review cadence with a little different sort of post. You can expect to see more of these come around in the future, but I wanted to take a couple of minutes and talk about a fun topic I was involved in discussing recently.

This past weekend, I was a panelist for Bourbon Pursuit’s Whiskey From Home Virtual Bourbon Conference – the first of its kind. It was 5.5 hours of fun and informative discussion, history and cocktail mixing sessions. If you didn’t drop by the conference, feel free to:

Kenny reached out to me a couple weeks before the date of streaming to see if I’d be interested. Video was required, pants were not. Hot diggity.

I couldn’t sign up fast enough when I heard the topic, and that I’d be paneling alongside Dad’s Drinking Bourbon and The Bourbon Enthusiast: two folks far cooler than I. We had a blast prepping and chatting.

Given how enjoyable the segment was, I wanted to take some time to write out a post and go into a little more detail about each of my picks for the segment – as well as one I didn’t discuss.

Best Sleeper Bottle Under $20

Ancient Age (1.75L)

I’m a huge fan of this bottle – it’s inexpensive, ubiquitous and versatile. Produced by Buffalo Trace, this uses their Mashbill #2 – the same as Blantons and Rock Hill Farms. Ancient Age works well in cocktails, on ice, or neat. While it’s young, it’s inoffensive, and has more complexity than one would expect.


Evan Williams Bottled in Bond (1L)

Not presented personally by me during the segment (time was short), but one I had selected as well – Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is an exception choice as well. At least 4 years old and bottled at 50% ABV, Evan Williams Bottled in Bond performs better than it should, and exceptionally given it’s $17.99 price point here in Wisconsin.

Best Sleeper: $25-$75

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

This one should come as no surprise if you’ve been reading here at t8ke.review for any period of time.

A previous victim of bad barrels and terrible quality control, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve rose from the ashes somewhere around 2016, and blossomed into a ubiquitous, heavy hitting, value king of the mid shelf.

At least 9 years old, this 60% ABV bottling can be found around $45 dollars, and many bottlings can be as old as 16 year old, when picked as part of a single barrel selection. Over the years, I’ve reviewed a whole boatload of these. You can check out the Knob Creek Rodeo here.

Best Sleeper: Cask Strength

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof

This is probably my proudest sleeper. Routinely, I tell people about this bottle and they look at me like I have three heads. “Jack Daniel’s has a GOOD product??” they say. You bet they do.

Once a sufferer of being hotter than hell, and crippled by poor QA and variability as well (remind you of another sleeper) this expression has shaped up considerably. Thought to be 6ish years old, and seldom bottled under 60% ABV, this $55 bottle has impressed me time after time, barrel after barrel over the last 3 years.

I don’t have a picture, which is unfortunate, but for good reason. It’s because I drank it all.

Bonus: Best Sleeper Limited Edition Nobody is Buying

Jim Beam Repeal Batch

It doesn’t surprise me. It’s $12. It’s 43% ABV. Not unlike the Budweiser Copper Lager aged in Beam barrels….this is the true sleeper.

It’s my dinner party bourbon. Buy it, drink it, leave it. Mix it. It’s everywhere, and it’s super solid. You can look for a review to hit here, officially, soon.

Bonus Bonus: Wild Turkey 101

We all knew it would be here. It’s not a sleeper, everybody (especially the fine folk of r/bourbon) but it’s the best of the best when it comes to a bottle that does everything right – price, proof, and value. Gobble, gobble.

What did you think of Whiskey From Home? Do you have other sleepers you think should have upstaged my picks? Feel free to let me know!

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